It is a situation many people have been in. You are driving along, minding your business when out of nowhere—smack! You clip or are clipped by another car. The damage does not seem serious on either vehicle, but you get out and exchange information with the other driver. It seemed to be an honest mistake, and both cars are drivable, so you carry on with your day and make a note to call your insurer later.

Everything in the above scenario sounds well and good, right? In certain scenarios, that may be all you need to do. With no injuries to report and only minor dings and scrapes, it may not be necessary to involve the police. There are several scenarios, however, where you should involve law enforcement in your Florida fender-benders.

When to Call the Police: The Legal Edition

There are two times where you are required by Florida law to report your accident to a law enforcement officer. The first is if someone suffered injuries as a result of the accident. If someone is hurt, call your local police department, county sheriff, or Highway Patrol. Not only will they be able to send medical help, but they can also include in their report the extent of the person’s injuries—you will see why this is important later.

The other scenario that legally requires you to report the accident to the police is if the damage to the car(s) or other property exceeds $500. If you are not able to “eyeball” the damage and come up with an exact amount, err on the side of caution and call.

When to Call the Police: Protect Your Own Hide Edition

Car accidents are one of those times where you need to be sure the details are right. Even if you get tangled up with the nicest person with the best intentions, sometimes you will reach an impasse when it boils down to what actually happened leading up to the crash. By involving a police officer, you open the door for witness reports and the officer’s own unbiased analysis of the evidence.

On the other hand, sometimes you find that you may have tapped bumpers with the wrong person. Uninsured drivers are quickly becoming an epidemic on our roads, and should you find your car has met its uninsured match, a police officer can help set the story straight and file a report that can help you with your own insurance company.

Another way that having a police report can help is if you encounter problems with your claim down the road, so to speak. Whiplash, one of the most common injuries in a minor crash, can take days to appear. With no police report, the other driver’s insurance company may be wary of your sudden claim.

Play it Safe

If you have been in an accident, after clearing the road, make sure you clear up any doubt about what occurred. Calling law enforcement can never hurt, and you may be thankful that you did as you handle your insurance claims for your car.

If you have been hurt in a car accident and are unsure of what your next move should be, reach out to me now by clicking on the live chat link. I am happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process of your auto injury claim.


Damian Mallard, Esq.
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Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney